This provocative book explores the relationship food has with building strong communities, how it is changing neighbourhoods and local economies, and how food and food-related issues have become critical new challenges for municipal councils.
The health issues from food are becoming epidemic in North America. Three million Canadians are living with diabetes, and six million more are pre-diabetic. In the US, a recent health study predicts that 25 percent of children going into kindergarten will be obese. These are only some of the health-related crises that are influencing municipal councils and the quality of life in our towns and cities.
“Eating local” and the “100-mile diet” are movements that are impacting our society. Municipalities today are involved with everything from local farmer’s markets to the gigantic suburban big box supermarkets that can dramatically impact traffic patterns and downtown prosperity, while also reshaping suburban development.
The book also offers an unblinking look at how life in rural communities is being disrupted, the pressures on the family farm, and the steadily increasing sprawl of urban centres into green lands. Attention then turns to the shifts in the economy and the business operations of the food industry that are impacting traditional local economies and prosperity. Our fragile food chain is examined, along with the vulnerability of our society to cracks in these vital linkages.
Traditional neighbourhoods, often built around the kitchen and the church, are undergoing dramatic changes today. Immigration patterns are a new and difficult challenge for most local councils, and few communities are offering sufficient support for smoothly integrating immigrants into their local community. One of the key factors in this process is ensuring foods familiar to immigrant families are readily accessible, and then teaching new citizens how to cook with local foods and utensils.
Municipalities are facing dramatic new decisions because of food – everything from how new subdivisions are designed (the book explores why older neighbourhoods, for example, are healthier than more recent housing developments) to rejuvenating downtown cores, to why municipalities must become creative economy leaders.
Municipalities are facing significant new costs and higher local taxes because of food- and water-related problems and challenges. The book offers some ideas, solutions, and challenges to municipal leaders that you simply can’t miss.
As municipal councils come to better understand their rapidly changing roles in the traditional government structure and why they must change how they have routinely done business, food-driven and food-related issues are quietly assuming more and more importance for municipalities. Yet, most council members and senior administration haven’t yet made this important link.
The book is also a celebration of communities. Food, drink, festivals, fun, families and community are all part of what has made our towns and cities successful. These same factors are now dramatically influencing the future for these communities, and how they are going to have to change, grow and adapt to prosper as we move forward.
The Local Food Revolution will be an important asset for all mayors and municipal council members, senior administration, local officials in health, recreation, parks, planning, engineering, culture, tourism, economic development, and finance.
Approx. 120 pages